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Old 07-19-2015, 11:26 PM   #1
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Newell chassis

What kind of chassis does Newell use?
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Old 07-20-2015, 12:11 AM   #2
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if i remember correctly, they have their own proprietary semi-monocoque chassis.
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Old 07-20-2015, 12:15 AM   #3
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They design and create their own chassis.

From "About Us" on their web page (click here):

Quote:
Founded on a commitment to quality and innovation

Newell Coach was founded in 1967 by L.K. Newell. From the beginning, the company designed and created its own coach chassis. This was because no pre-made chassis or bus shell could provide the quality Newell insisted upon for his motorcoaches. A commitment to quality and innovation remains a cornerstone of the company to this day.


ETA: Apologies to CountryFit, didn't mean to post over you.

Further interesting information found on the Newell website here:

Quote:
In 1970, Newell designed and built his own pusher motorhome chassis—from scratch. He used a unique bridge-construction technique that maximized under-floor storage space, creating the first motorhome with a basement. He offered his first diesel-powered motorhome in 1972, far ahead of the rest of the industry.
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Old 07-20-2015, 06:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theroc View Post
They design and create their own chassis.

From "About Us" on their web page (click here):





ETA: Apologies to CountryFit, didn't mean to post over you.

Further interesting information found on the Newell website here:
Wow, pretty incredible that Newell makes their own chassis. They certainly were innovators.

Since they were ahead of their time with diesel pusher design and chassis innovation, how does their chassis compare with the modern Freightliner and Spartan chassis?
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Old 07-20-2015, 12:58 PM   #5
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peterson, I have to think that a Newell chassis is far superior than a "rolling chassis" (but I'm not an expert as a Newell is way out of my price range). Newell with the its monocoque design is where the chassis and frame are integrated. With a "rolling chassis" as a Freightliner or Spartan, many chassis components are added almost as an after-thought (or at least after the chassis substrate is completed) and then the coach-producer (Winnebago, Newmar, Tiffin, etc.) add their "house" on top of that "rolling chassis."

The experts can correct me or word it better than I can but in the meantime, you can take a look at this old thread here on iRV2 that explains it better ...especially the last post in the thread: Go here
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Old 07-21-2015, 09:33 AM   #6
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I believe Tiffin in the Allegro Bus and the Zephyr models make their own chassis. I believe that because they showed the chassis production area when i toured the facility. I do not know what year they started that. I also am not sure but what the reason companies make their own chassis is not as much for it is cheaper to build a chassis to buy one so it would increase their profits. That might be why versus whether a company made chassis is better than a freightliner or spartan for instance.
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Old 07-21-2015, 09:47 AM   #7
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Just speculating here, but I would guess that the chassis's are all pretty equivalent, construction and safety-wise, but the custom in-house productions probably provide a huge amount of flexibility in the construction and design of the rest of the coach. You are not building the coach on top of the chassis, but rather right into the chassis itself.

So the "far superior" probably means design of the layout and placement of "stuff" rather than inherent safety or construction. AND far superior in cost, because Newell, et. al. does not have much volume compared to the major chassis producers.

So superior in this context may not mean what many think it means. You do get what you pay for generally, but sometimes it may cost alot for a little.

Just a couple of thoughts.
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Old 07-21-2015, 02:15 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by garbonz View Post
Just speculating here, but I would guess that the chassis's are all pretty equivalent, construction and safety-wise, but the custom in-house productions probably provide a huge amount of flexibility in the construction and design of the rest of the coach. You are not building the coach on top of the chassis, but rather right into the chassis itself.

So the "far superior" probably means design of the layout and placement of "stuff" rather than inherent safety or construction. AND far superior in cost, because Newell, et. al. does not have much volume compared to the major chassis producers.

So superior in this context may not mean what many think it means. You do get what you pay for generally, but sometimes it may cost alot for a little.

Just a couple of thoughts.
Although I agree somewhat with you are saying, garbonz, it's probably not fair to compare a Newell to the average entry-level diesel pusher. Many of us started out with an entry-level pusher on a Freightliner chassis that when new cost around $200,000 or thereabouts. A brand new Newell starts at about 1.5 million and can easily exceed $2,000,000 if all the bells and whistles are added. I can't see where we can really make a comparison when it comes to not only the safety of the chassis but to all other aspects of the coach as well.

It's like saying that a Kia is safe vehicle and so is a Cadilac. But what vehicle would you rather be driving in a head-on collision or be in when it rolls over?

I read in another forum where this guy witnessed an aftermath of a tornado and on the side of the road were numerous vehicles which had overturned and included in the bunch were several RVs. Just about all of the RVs he saw were totaled and their "houses" were ripped apart and separated from their chassis'. Some Newells and Prevosts caught in the same storm were also overturned or on their sides but were intact where they could be repaired.

But Newell claims superior construction even when compared with a Prevost conversion. Here is what Karl Blade of Newell says about that comparison:

"Newell uses heavier steel framing below the floor and aluminum for the body framing above the floor line. Prevost uses a lighter steel frame below the floor and heavier steel body framing. The Newell approach results in more strength from the floor down. The Prevost design relies more on the body structure above the floor, in particular on a horizontal trust-like structure from the floor to the bottom of the windows running the full length of the coach. A significant difference in the results is that the Newell structure, deriving more of its strength from the structure below the floor and comparatively less from the body side walls, has been far more compatible with the addition of slide-outs, particularly larger slide-outs and multiple slide-outs, that require the sidewalls to be cut vertically."

So, I guess the bottom line pertaining to the premise of this entire thread is that it actually may be ridiculous to be comparing a Newell with those diesel pushers costing a quarter of the price one pays for a Newell. Even those who can afford a $500,000 diesel pusher are still not in the same league as those who are spending close to two-million dollars for a new Newell coach.

Are you getting what you pay for? I certainly do not know for as I mentioned previously, I'm not one who can afford one. But if one is wealthy enough to purchase a new one, I have to believe they only want the best no matter what it costs.
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Old 07-21-2015, 07:50 PM   #9
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There is even a substantial difference between the entry level Freightliner and the top end FTL chassis used in luxury class coaches. The RV builder can order a barebones, "cheap" chassis or an upgraded model, according to need and the price target for the coach.

An RV chassis isn't all that hard to build because the major components are purchased anyway, e.g. engine, Tranny, axles, air compressor, radiator, fuel tank, etc. The ticklish part is combining the right components to work well together and integrating them all into a seamless whole. The advantage of building your own is that you can harmonize it with the body you are also building. If you see that the overall coach design can be improved by moving a chassis frame member a few inches, or by using a different radiator, design, your engineering staff can discuss it and fairly quickly decide to make the change (or not). And make it either a one-of-a-kind change, or alter the base design for all coaches.
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Old 07-21-2015, 10:46 PM   #10
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Most of the higher end coaches prior to the crash in 2008 were built on their own chassis. This includes Newell and Prevost as mentioned already but also

Foretravel
Higher end Monacos
Country Coach
Alpine
Bluebird
Not sure about Travel Supreme

I believe Tiffin bought the Peak Chassis design from Alpine when they went out of business. The Peak Chassis is a rail chassis and not a semi monocoque design.

There is a big difference in motorhome design between one that has a standard rail chassis and the house is attached to it and a semi monocoque one where the house is part of the chassis. In the event of something violent like a tornado or a crash you want to be in the bus with the semi monocoque chassis. A big feature of that type of chassis is resistance to flexing. Generally this means that when driving down the road the suspension parts attached to the stiffer chassis work better. Those chassis types are less susceptible to interior noise. As the miles pile up a semi monocoque will last longer.

Besides the difference between standard rail chassis and semi monocoque is also the fact that a chassis designed for a UPS van or a firetruck may be asked to do different things beneath a motorhome. It stands to reason that if the chassis beneath your motorhome was designed to be there it will work better than a standard chassis that is asked to do lots of different things.

If you see a drawing of what the chassis looks like on a semi monocoque and rail chassis there is a huge difference.

My memory says that Newell which is now in OK was originally a California company. Mr Newell went out and bought the company and moved it to it's current location. I am not positive of that but believe it is true.

Both Newell and Prevost are said to have great rides. I have never ridden in either, but that is what their owners have said on this forum. Our coach does have a chassis built by Country Coach for our motorhome and is a semi monocoque design. I bought it used about six years ago because the ride and driving was so much better than anything else I test drove. If I were to win a big lottery and was to upgrade my coach I would like to have either a Newell or a Prevost.

Please keep in mind this is my opinion and not necessarily all facts.
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Old 07-22-2015, 10:11 AM   #11
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Great responses and I appreciate all these inputs. I especially was informed about the heavy duty nature of the high end coaches, the variable quality point of the chassis designers, etc. I love it when we can openly discuss these kind of things to the benefit of all.

The dizzying range of prices in the market today for all RV's makes it hard to decide which end is up and at what price point does the safety margin get to slim to meet an individual's need for their particular risk tolerance and usage pattern AND pocketbook. PLUS the apparent slide downward in overall quality with time (if that is true) brings the new vs used issue into play also.
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Old 07-22-2015, 02:30 PM   #12
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I don't know how you can build just a chassis and claim it is "monocoque". Or even "semi-monocoque". [Isn't semi-monocoque like being partially pregnant?]. You have to integrate the body structure with the chassis to be a monocoque design. Prevost and Newell can do that if they choose, because they build both in the same factory at the same time. You can't do that if you just fasten the body to the chassis after the chassis is built. Building the chassis in a plant down the road and then adding a body at an assembly plant doesn't count either.

On another subject, both Freightliner and Spartan build chassis specifically for Class A motorhomes. They are NOT the same chassis that rolls off a truck assembly line. The Freightliner Class A chassis are designed and built by an entirely separate company (Freightliner Custom Chassis in Gafney, SC) from the truck business, for example. Sure those chassis builders make other "custom" chassis too, and they may try for some synergy in the designs, but it's a mistake to think they aren't at least somewhat unique.
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Old 07-23-2015, 10:18 AM   #13
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Gary - Back at the time of the crash 2008 - American Coach was the only one of the high end motorhomes that did not make their own chassis. When I spent a year researching what used motorhome to buy in 2008-09 all the "recommenders" said that getting a motorhome with a custom built chassis was a plus. I am not a chassis engineer or an engineer of any kind. So I read what others had to say who claimed to be experts.

What I can see that is different is the chassis that Freightliner and Spartan sometimes bring to FMCA rallies and what is in my manuals. Country Coach built the chassis up the walls with steel tubes and then integrated the body structure in with what they called their "steel tube cage design". What our coach has is called a semi-monocoque design. I have been told it is better because it resists flexing more than a body on frame type design that most motorhomes use today.

I suspect that there are big differences in the way body on frame and monocoque type chassis and body on frame coaches are built. This is outside my area of expertise and only know what I have read on this forum. I have read a few times on IRV2 of where the house structure of their coach (the body) was attached to the lower frame with a number of small screws. He could see daylight between the wall and floor. The major motorhome maker that is in the middle cost range "fixed" it by putting in more small screws. (Not one of the cheap makers)

I would not want to be in a motorhome that was in an accident or tornado who's body was attached with a bunch of small screws to the chassis. On the other hand Blue Bird made a bunch of very high end motorhomes and school busses. They actually roll tested their FC style coach. It did very well. Country Coach has made many motorhomes that were Prevost conversions. I suspect they learned something when they did that and put it into their own chassis. All of the last two paragraphs are my opinion only.

My Jeep and most American made pick up trucks are body on frame design. But when you bolt a very solid metal body to a Jeep or truck frame that is quite different from a 40' long big house made from mostly fiberglass, aluminum, and glass. The big bus body will flex a lot more.

Like everything else, the more money you spend the more likely you are going to get a better product. So Prevost likely has the most heavy duty set up. But going down from there you likely have a variety of heavy duty-ness. I know the Foretravel people say a lot of good things about their semi-monocoque style chassis-body. But is there a huge difference between body on frame and semi-monocoque? Maybe in a Tornado. The subject of this post.

And by the way. Semi-monocoque is the term used by manufacturers of 95% of the cars made today that are built with this style of construction.
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Old 07-23-2015, 10:39 AM   #14
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I do not know about anyone else but I have no intention of being in any kind of motor home that is hit by a tornado. Tornado shelters if I get any warning, a ditch if i see one coming at me on the road but unless it sneaks up on me I am not going to be in my coach.
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